1. What opportunities are available to prepare for a career in teaching through Wake Forest University?
2. How do I get my foot in the door in the teaching field?
3. What skills are necessary for success in a teaching career?
4. How can I teach without a license in North Carolina?
5. What are the steps for becoming a lateral entry teacher and pursuing a “professional” teaching license?
6. What alternative teaching opportunities are available?
7. What additional resources are available?
The Department of Education at Wake Forest University offers various majors and minors intended for licensure and non-licensure pathways into teaching as well as other careers in the field of education and/or related professions. For more information, click here, or visit WFU’s Department of Education located in B201 Tribble Hall.
Contact the State Board of Education and local school districts
Your State Board of Education is a great resource. State boards can provide you with state-specific certification requirements, procedures, and applications. They also provide other valuable information, such as listings of local school districts and schools. States might have their own exams and additional teaching requirements, so you should plan to contact the licensure officer of the districts you are interested in directly. Districts also do their own recruiting and hiring; they are your best resource for local job vacancies and other essential information regarding individual schools.
Attend job fairs
Local school districts often pool their recruiting efforts by organizing job fairs. These gatherings are excellent chances for you to meet potential employers, find out about job vacancies, and get your resume and name out there. February through June are the typical months for fairs. Check with the Office of Personal & Career Development to find out about job fairs in your area.
Network your way in
Take advantage of every contact you have in the educational system. Start with the school system’s licensure officer. Former teachers, professors, family members, and friends may also provide you with job opportunities and information, as well as further contacts in the field. Use LinkedIn to network with WFU graduates who are already working in the field. When you contact these alumni, ask to set up informational interviews. Joining a professional association, such as the American Federation of Teachers or the National Education Association, is a smart networking move as well; you’ll not only learn more about the field, but you’ll also meet other education professionals. The key here is to be assertive and not afraid to ask for help. The majority of people will be happy to talk about their teaching experience and flattered that you asked.
Substitute teaching is an excellent way to gain experience, make contacts, and bring home a little money while you search for more permanent employment. Many experienced teachers will tell you that they got their first full-time break through a substitute teaching job. Once schools get to know you and your teaching style, they will be more likely to consider you for an opening when a position becomes available, and you’ll certainly have an advantage over a total stranger when it comes time for them to pick a candidate. Contact the school districts you’re interested in for information on substitute teaching opportunities.
Teacher placement agencies
If you’re interested in working at a private school, look into registering with a teacher placement agency. These agencies act as intermediaries between private schools and teaching candidates. Some agencies require schools to pay a fee for finding candidates, while other agencies charge teaching candidates for finding them jobs. Be sure to research any organization fully before registering with them—especially those that ask you to pay a fee. No fee placement agencies, such as Southern Teachers Agency and Carney Sandoe & Associates, hold on-campus interviews at Wake Forest. Check Handshake to find out when agencies will be interviewing.
Send out resumes
Some teachers recommend that you send unsolicited resumes to as many school districts as possible. You can locate the names, addresses, and other details of schools and school districts on the internet. If you don’t have a contact name, call the principal of the schools in which you are interested. Remember to customize each cover letter to the school system to which you are applying, and always follow up your mailings with a call. Whether or not there are positions available, at least you’ll get your name out there, and schools will keep your resume on file.
- Excellent oral and written communication
- Positive attitude
- Sense of humor
- Good listener
Hot Tips for Breaking Into Teaching
- Teaching is often no longer only teaching. You may be required to lead student extracurricular activities. Experience in a sport will enable you to be an assistant coach or possibly a head coach.
- Reach your school just as you would a company. Know why you want to work at that particular school and/or in that particular country.
- Show passion for which you are applying, even if it’s not the one you covet.
Traditionally, North Carolina’s public school teachers have come from formal teacher-education programs of in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities. However, today’s demand for teachers far exceeds the supply of new graduates from these traditional programs. “Alternate” routes to teaching were established by the North Carolina State Board of Education to help alleviate this shortage. These “non-traditional” or “alternate” routes to teaching were established for qualified individuals with college degrees outside the field of education who want to become teachers. Individuals interested in becoming teachers should contact the specific school system in which they want to teach to inquire about that particular system’s licensing options.
Lateral entry is an “alternate” route to teaching for qualified individuals outside of the public education system. Lateral entry allows qualified individuals to obtain a teaching position and begin teaching right away, while obtaining a license as they teach. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Licensure Section authorizes lateral-entry licenses on a provisional basis in licensure areas that correspond to the individual’s academic study.
- The individual must first qualify as a lateral entry teacher to be able to seek a position with a school system.
- The individual is hired by a school system, which recommends the individual to the NC Department of Public Instruction for a lateral entry license. The individual is issued a three year lateral entry provisional license.
- Upon being issued the initial provisional lateral entry license, the individual affiliates with a college or university with an approved teacher education program in the license area or with one of the Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC) in North Carolina. An individual plan of study is prescribed for the lateral entry teacher.
- The individual follows their plan of study prescribed by the college or university or the RALC. A minimum of six semester hours per year from the plan of study must be taken until the plan has been completed. All coursework and the Praxis II exam for their licensure area must be completed within three years.
- When the individual completes the required coursework prescribed by the college, university, or RALC and satisfies licensure testing requirements, they is recommended for licensure by the institution or RALC. This recommendation is sent to the NC Department of Public Instruction where it is evaluated and if the individual has met all the requirements, he/she is issued a Standard Professional 1 License.
The National Cathedral Elementary School (Beauvoir) Associate Teacher Program seeks current students or recent graduates interested in working in a program that will clarify their career goals and refine their pedagogical skills in a dynamic teaching environment in Washington, D.C. Click here to view the program brochure.
TNTP Teaching Fellows is a highly competitive program which looks for accomplished professionals and recent graduates who aren’t yet certified as educators, but who possess the skills and knowledge to teach high-need subjects. In 2012, about 40 percent of Teaching Fellows taught special education, 15 percent taught science, 12 percent taught math, and 10 percent taught bilingual education.
TNTP Teaching Fellows offers a centralized application process to apply to their various nationwide teaching fellows programs, which include:
Go to TNTP Teaching Fellows for more information about subject area needs and to compare programs.
The Stanwich School Associate Teacher Program seeks liberal arts majors interested in pursuing a career in education. Interns work beside a master teacher at The Stanwich School (a private, coed K-9 school in Greenwich, CT) for two years, earn their master’s degree, and have a teaching job waiting for them when they graduate. Interns receive an annual salary in addition to medical and dental benefits, plus assistance with graduate school tuition.
The NYC Department of Education’s Graduate Scholarship Program prepares participants to work in NYC public schools. The program provides full tuition for a masters degree in a designated critical shortage area (bilingual, bilingual school psychology, speech pathology, or visually impaired). In exchange, participants serve as a teacher or clinician and repay two years of service for each year of tuition assistance. Upon graduation, participants are placed in areas of high need in the city schools.
The Boettcher Teachers Program, an intensive, field-based, dual licensure and master’s degree program in Colorado designed to recruit, prepare, and retain outstanding teachers for urban schools, seeks prospective teachers in math, science, bilingual and elementary education, Spanish, English, and social studies. Participants earn their teaching license and master’s degree in urban education from the University of Denver, mostly paid for in exchange for a commitment to teach in partner districts’ high priority schools for a total of five years, including the teaching residency year. Benefits include a living stipend during the teaching residency year, ongoing collaboration through a network of urban teachers, and facilitated visits to classrooms of master teachers around the Denver metro area. No previous teaching experience is required. Spanish speakers are especially encouraged to apply.
Teach Kentucky recruits recent graduates from selective universities to teach in either urban or rural Kentucky public schools for two years while at the same time pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of Louisville. Participants receive a competitive salary, health insurance, and tuition assistance.
The Math for America Fellowship is a five year program in that trains mathematically-talented individuals to become high school math teachers and supports them in the early years of their careers. Fellows receive a stipend, a full tuition scholarship to a masters level teacher preparation program, a position as a high school math teacher in Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, Utah, and Washington, D.C., a teaching certification, and a teacher’s salary. During the first year of the program fellows are enrolled as full-time graduate students.
Inner City Teaching Corps is a two year program that places outstanding recent college graduates in teaching positions at inner-city Chicago elementary and middle schools. The program is based on the principles of service, simple living, faith-based community, and spirituality. Free housing, transportation, a monthly stipend, health insurance, student loan deferments, and master’s degree scholarship options are also included in the program.
Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship offers rigorous teaching preparation, extensive clinical experience, and ongoing mentoring, as well as a $30,000 stipend. Fellows are outstanding college juniors and seniors, recent college graduates, and second-career professionals interested in teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (the STEM fields) in high-need middle or secondary schools. Accepted Fellows begin their studies in the summer in a master’s degree program at institutions in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. In exchange, Fellows will commit to teaching math or science in a high-need middle or high school for three years upon completing the master’s degree and teaching certification. Applications are usually due in January.
New Teachers Collaborative prepares participants with a strong college background in mathematics, science, the arts, English, humanities, history/social sciences, Spanish, or physical fitness/wellness for a teaching career. For two summer sessions and one academic year participants teach in a small middle or secondary school in Massachusetts as well as earn a teaching certificate. Participants pay no tuition and receive a stipend and benefits.
The MATCH Teacher Residency Program is a highly selective, urban education fellowship program in Boston. The MATCH school is often compared to Teach for America and the New York City Teaching Fellows Program. MATCH is a one year program and Corps members may work with elementary, middle or high school low-income, urban students. MATCH Corps members receive housing and a modest stipend.
Mississippi Teacher Corps is a competitive, alternate-route teaching program serving critical-shortage public school districts throughout Mississippi. The two-year program is designed for non-education majors to teach full-time in Mississippi schools in either the Mississippi Delta (rural) or Jackson (urban) areas while simultaneously earning a master’s degree in education from the University of Mississippi.
Citizen Schools is a network of after-school programs for middle school students in 38 locations across the country (in CA, IL, MA, NC, NJ, NM, NY, and TX). The Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship is a service program offering a two-year, leadership development experience, including service as a team leader at a Citizen Schools campus, professional development with a partner organization in the community, and the opportunity for optional enrollment in a pioneering master’s program in out-of-school learning. Proficiency in Spanish is a plus. The Fellowship is paid. Loan forbearance for qualified student loans is available through AmeriCorps.
The Brookwood Teacher Training Program in Manchester, MA is an intense study and work experience that entails one year of teaching experience, Massachusetts Initial Licensure, and a master’s degree in education. The program begins with a summer of graduate study at Lesley University and is followed by a nine-month teaching internship experience at Brookwood School, which includes part-time course work at Lesley. Brookwood School is an independent day school for grades pre-K through 8. Participants may earn licensure in early childhood education or elementary education.
Memphis Teaching Residency is a faith-based program that allows participants to combine theory (masters degree in urban education), practice (teaching internship), and support (personal coaching, housing, and $12,000 stipend) to transform Memphis urban classrooms.
The Mentor at Punahou Program (located in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an opportunity for aspiring teachers to work with experienced Punahou mentors who teach grades 9 – 12. This yearlong teaching program is designed to give support, training, and experience to college graduates who are considering teaching as a career. It is not an internship; participants in the MAP Program are fulltime members of the Punahou Academy faculty.
7. What additional resources are available?
American Federation of Teachers
American Association for Employment in Education
National Education Association
Public Schools and School Districts
Independent School Management
U.S. Department of Education
The Educational Resources Information Center
National Association of Independent Schools
Southern Association of Independent Schools
U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools